October 20, 2020

Lady Braves split at Rival Rumble

(Bremen, GA) — The Lady Braves varsity softball team opened the regular season with a close 4-3 walk-off loss to Bremen Saturday afternoon before bouncing right back to knock off Bowdon 10-3 at the second annual Rival Rumble.

The Rival Rumble came about in 2016 after the three rival teams were moved into separate regions and classifications.

The Lady Braves hosted the first edition last year and this year it was Bremen’s turn to host the three team round robin. Bremen defeated Bowdon 8-4 in the final game of the day.

A solid performance on the mound and at the plate by sophomore pitcher Katelyn Jiles keyed the 10-3 win over Bowdon. Jiles pitched a complete game and drove in the first two runs of the game for the Lady Braves with a solid double.

Junior Lora Glover drove in two runs with a single and a sacrifice fly and Haley Bennett plated two with a fifth inning double.

Sophomore Marissa Garza put the game out of reach with a two-run bomb — the first homer of her career — in the bottom of the sixth that drove home shortstop Hannah Holden.

Alexus Crawford had a nice day defensively at second base for coach Matt Hornsby as she was part of two double plays during the rumble.

Junior Lady Brave second baseman Alexus Crawford bats during Saturday’s 10-3 win over Bowdon at the Rival Rumble

The Lady Braves fought hard versus a talented Bremen squad before dropping the 4-3 decision late. Sydney Gay pitched well enough to win but untimely defensive miscues were too much to overcome.

Crawford used her speed to tie the game at 3-3 in the top of the sixth before the Bremen rally in the bottom of the seventh. Sophomore catcher Brittany Graley played well behind the dish including a diving play on a short pop in the third inning.

The Lady Braves face a tall order to get back to Columbus for a seventh straight season after graduating most of the starting line-up from last season including college recruits Ally Harris, Hannah Sanders, Hannah Stephens, and Alyssa Cosper.

Although returning only two seniors (IF Anna Cosper and OF Brittany Scarborough), the Lady Braves do bring back the entire pitching staff from 2016 which will be something Hornsby hopes to rely on as the team moves deeper into the regular season.

The squad was slated to open at home versus Villa Rica earlier in the week but those games were postponed until September 11 following rain-outs on both Tuesday and Wednesday.

Hornsby is pleased to have see his young girls battling so hard.

“We swung the bats well today especially against Bowdon and did a good job of squaring a lot of balls up,” said Hornsby after the games.

“Katelyn Jiles had some trouble throwing strikes early but was able to get it fixed fairly quickly which is what you have to do. I thought we played well enough to win in the first game versus Bremen but we gave up four unearned runs and we have to learn to clean up some of those little things defensively.”

The coach says his young squad has made some big improvements over the last month of practice.

“I was really proud to see the way we competed in both games today — if you had told me a month ago that we would play this well today I would have been shocked,” added Hornsby.

“Pitching wise, we hope to be getting to where we thought we were heading into last last year — and that’s with four very good varsity pitchers. We have a couple of them battling injuries right now but hope to have all four back throwing soon.”

The Lady Braves return to the diamond this Wednesday when they host the Newnan Cougars at HHS. The ladies will travel to Lagrange on Thursday to close out play for the week. The first Region 5-AA game will be at Temple on August 29.

Comments

  1. Patty Jiles says

    They all played awesome! Keep on keeping on Lady Braves!

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